Feel like your sewing has been stuck in a rut? Check out these ideas for getting inspired and refreshing your creativity!
1. Read a Blog
Since you’re already here, you might have this covered! Blogs by other sewists can be great sources of inspiration, especially as they detail their own triumphs and trip-ups. You can also find free patterns, tutorials, and leads on shows and supplies.
2. Go to a Craft Show
Another great way to get your creative juices flowing is to go to a craft show and see what kinds of works your fellow sewists are creating. Keep a notebook handy to document your ideas, and be sure to support the creators whose work you admire.
3. Create an Inspiration Board
An inspiration board is an easy way to get the ideas in your head out into the real world. Start with a cork-board and add sketches, fabric swatches, colour samples, trims, photographs, magazine clippings, print-outs, and anything else that helps you construct your vision.
4. Visit an Art Gallery
Art is a great source of inspiration, whether you make quilts, clothing, or something in between. Go to your favourite gallery or exhibition, or challenge yourself with something completely new. Inspiration can be as literal as looking at the historic clothing in old portraits, or as subtle as the textures in a mixed-media piece.
5. Take a Class
A surefire way to break out of your rut is to learn to do something new or different. Take a class to learn an entirely new technique, like working with stretch fabrics or drafting your own patterns, or hone your existing skills with advanced classes.
6. Go to a Museum Exhibition
Museum exhibits of historic fashions are a great way to see different techniques in action. If you don’t have access to such an exhibit locally, check out museum photo archives—many have detailed photographs of historic fashion and accessories.
7. Take in a Show
Whether a film, a play, a ballet, or even a circus performance, costuming can provide a great look into another time or place. Keep an open mind as you watch. Sometimes inspiration can come from the simplest details, like the color palette or an interesting fabric pattern.
8. Join a Sewing Circle
The saying “two heads are better than one” is also helpful when it comes to getting out of a rut. A sewing circle exposes you to new ideas, techniques, and gives you a fantastic resource in the form of fellow sewing enthusiasts who might be able to help you troubleshoot your tricky projects.
9. Look at Old Pattern Books
Some classic fashions never go out of style, and others come and go like clockwork. Browsing old pattern books can give you lots of ideas for incorporating elements of classic fashions, while avoiding techniques that can make your pieces look dated.
10. Visit a Fabric Warehouse
You can’t help but be inspired by bolt after bolt of gorgeous fabrics! Take a trip to your local fabric warehouse and browse through the material on offer. Try to explore sections you don’t usually visit. You may find inspiration for a dress in the pattern of an upholstery fabric!
11. Try Sketching
Some fashion designers spend years honing their drawing skills, but you don’t need to be an expert to give it a shot. Try printing out some silhouettes if you’re not comfortable creating your own, and use them to play with patterns and colours.
12. Sew Outside Your Comfort Zone
If you’re feeling stuck with your usual sewing projects, try something unusual. For quilters, it might mean making a fun accessory, or trying a home decor project if you usually make clothing. Don’t worry about making it an ambitious project—just try something totally different and see how it goes!
13. Browse Home Design Magazines
If home design projects are more your speed, browsing design magazines is an excellent way to get inspired. Check out the high-end, designer pieces and plan DIY versions that give you all the style without breaking the bank.
14. Attend a Fashion Show
It doesn’t need to be Fashion Week in London or Paris; even a show at a design school or a bridal exposition can inspire your own fashion designs.
15. Recreate an Old Favourite
Was there a childhood soft toy you loved, or a beautiful quilt pattern you remember from a relative’s house? Try recreating it on your own, either from memory, or by using the original piece as a model. This can be a fun exercise with garments as well!
16. Study Fashions from Other Parts of the World
While you should always be respectful of the fashion traditions from other cultures, particularly in regard to ceremonial or religious garb, studying the construction techniques, colours, patterns, and shapes can be eye-opening. Explore the world through fashion and see how it changes your perspective!
17. Diy Through Your Fabric Stash
Every sewist has a fabric stash—all those gorgeous scraps too pretty or too pricey to throw away, or a length of special fabric that’s waiting for just the right occasion. If you’re struggling with feeling creative, go through the fabrics you’ve stashed away to see what kind of inspiration might be lurking there.
18. Draft Your Own Pattern
This might feel audacious if you’ve never done such a thing before, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Start by drafting something simple, like a full skirt, before moving on to more complex, fitted garments.
19. Make Something as a Gift
When you’re imagining what someone else might like, it’s easier to step outside yourself as you’re planning a project. Even better, get the recipient of your gift involved in the project, so they’re providing feedback as you plan.
20. Browse Old Photo Albums
This is like the personal version of checking out a museum exhibition! Check out some family albums, the older the better, and challenge yourself to recreate or update some of the things you see, whether it’s outfits, accessories, or even decor elements!
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